Libraries, the universe and everything


ICoASL 2017
May 22, 2017, 12:39
Filed under: CPD, Events, Reflections | Tags: , ,

Several months ago I was both surprised and delighted to receive an invitation to speak at the 5th International Conference of Asian Special Libraries, particularly when I saw the theme was to be “Curation and Management of Cultural Heritage through Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities for the Digital Society”. I was slightly more apprehensive when I realised that I was the only SLA Board member who was able to attend, so that I would be representing the association as well as presenting my own speech, but in my usual spirit of “say yes and worry about the consequences later”, I happily accepted and began planning the trip.

The conference was being held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, which made a splendid excuse for a holiday, as well as enabling a stopover in Singapore, one of my bucket list destinations. I’m going to write more about all of that over on my other blog, and I’ve also submitted a brief account of the conference to the SLA blog (links will be added when these go live), but I wanted to share a more personal record of the experience here.

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How to talk to vendors at conferences, even when you’re not planning to buy anything.
July 21, 2016, 11:56
Filed under: Reflections | Tags: , ,

When I started attending library conferences, one of my greatest misconceptions was that you had to be a content-buyer in order to talk to vendors in the expo. As a lowly team-member with no budget of my own, I didn’t see what I could possibly achieve from such interactions. Happily, I soon realised the error of my ways, and at my last conference I had a brilliant time talking to vendors. In terms of my position (and my purchasing power) nothing has actually changed, just my perspective. To remind myself of this, and in case this might be helpful to anyone else, I thought I would write about it whilst the experience was still reasonably fresh in my mind.

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#SLA2016 takeaways
July 18, 2016, 13:05
Filed under: CPD, Events, Reflections | Tags: , , ,

SLA 2016 was an excellent conference. My experience was a little different this year as I was wearing several different hats: an attendee, a chapter president and a board candidate. I’ll blog about the latter separately, but here I wanted to capture some of the things which resonated most strongly with me as an attendee (and, perhaps coincidentally, as a leader).

For a conference which didn’t have explicit themes or tracks, it was remarkable how the same points kept appearing in different contexts. The two which I encountered most frequently were ‘understanding yourself’ and ‘learning is leading’. Continue reading



A Janus moment
January 22, 2016, 12:28
Filed under: Chartership, CPD, Reflections | Tags: , , , ,

In preparing my 2015 CPD list and statement for revalidation I’ve been looking back over my professional goals for 2015, and am pleased to note that I didn’t actually do too badly at achieving them. (I also managed to log over 120 hours of CPD activities, and I’m quite sure that isn’t actually the full total – no wonder I never seem to have any free time!) Continue reading



Volunteers – the el399 guide
December 19, 2014, 12:10
Filed under: Reflections | Tags: , ,

I recently added another strand of volunteering to my current batch of activities, and this prompted me to think again about the whole process of recruiting and managing volunteers.

I should perhaps say at this point that I am not in favour of gutting library services and replacing professional library staff with untrained persons, however well-meaning they may be. However, in the historical/cultural sector appropriately-skilled volunteers are enormously valuable in augmenting the work of paid staff, and I have experienced the benefits of this as both an employee and a volunteer. Continue reading




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